kim faires photography + stuff
I once had a film director compare my acting style to Amanda Plummer.
He told me that, like her, I was the kind of actor that absorbed and reflected the energy around me, and so, in order to get what he had wanted out of me (which he had just finished doing when he told me this), all he had to do was pull aside the other actor working across from me and get THEM to change their energy level, and mine automatically changed with it.
That was over ten years ago. And I am still thinking about it.
Now, I don’t want to get into a big philosophical discussion here about how life is art and art is life, but it’s been pretty clear to me over the years that this little Amanda Plummer-esque tendency of mine is really and truly how I roll in all areas of my life — not just on a stage or in front of a camera.
It’s a part of who I am, for sure, but these days it seems that I am really coming to understand how this trait manifests itself in my life.
Take a case in point: this BLOG:
I have struggled these last months to come up with what I perceive to be decent content. Part of that is because I don’t have a really clear reason for writing this blog. Honestly, I am not sure WHY I am doing this. After all, I kinda started blogging on a whim. And I started it at a time in my life when I was unsure of which direction I was headed. All I knew was that I wasn’t going to law school. So, basically, I was just sitting on the floor with a letter of rejection in my hand, and a bunch of scattered creative ideas in my head about what I really wanted to do, when I got up and wrote my first blog post.
Six months later, I found myself under a lot of pressure to post. I’d been going online and reading how-to articles about blogging — reading tips for this, and tricks for that. I’d signed up for Twitter (because that’s what everyone else did). And I was clicking on a bazillion links here, and bookmarking a bazillion blogs there.
In short, I got really caught up in the frenzy of the internet.
There I was, watching all these other bloggers post every single day, plus I was reading all these articles that were telling me to post more often and regularly. And I’d try to pick up my own pace in order to match all the hyperactivity around me, but I would always come up short. I’d think, “Oh god, I’m not posting frequently enough,” or “Crap. It’s Pixel Fix Friday and I haven’t taken any pictures yet.” So then I would frantically post stuff, just to get it out there, even if I didn’t think what I was posting was very good or very interesting.
All just to take the pressure off myself.
Until I finally hit the wall. I rebelled, and just stopped altogether. I felt so buffeted, that I quit Twitter. I stopped reading most blogs, and instead just subscribed to the newsletters of my favourite bloggers, or just checked in with them occasionally, or — better yet — read their books.
And I stopped posting on my own blog.
But I still worried about it. That frenzied feeling was still there, in my heart. The cacophony around me was still affecting me, and kinda freaking me out. (It still is, even as I write this.) I was still thinking about the fact that I wasn’t writing anything here.
So yeah. This little blog of mine, sitting here in cyberspace, was still pulling on my psychic energy in a big way.
And, you know, it’s probably because I didn’t really want to stop writing. Not completely. I just didn’t like feeling pressured to post when I had nothing good to post. I was acutely aware of the frenetic energy around me, and felt compelled to match it, but couldn’t. Not without compromising on quality. So I, you know, ran away. Hid for awhile. Crouched down in the bushes, and worried about it.
And then, as usually happens in my life, a fitting and timely message arrived in my inbox. This time around, it took the form of a newsletter article from one of my favourite bloggers — whom I have mentioned here quite often — Colleen Wainwright. In her January ’11 newsletter, she described the internet as something that is “increasingly full of noise and crap,” and this is what she had to say about it:
The noise is a function of a more crowded web. The crap I believe is fed by the increasing noise: people get freaked out seeing the endless stream of content getting posted to blogs, sent out via email, posted to Twitter/Facebook/whatever, and feel like they need to say something, anything, to keep up, so they don’t fade into the background.
While it’s not a great idea to disappear entirely, the real story is more likely that you need to be doing a lot more in the background to make what you do put out there publicly even more extraordinary.
Ah-hah! This, I think, is brilliant, and EXACTLY captures my experience (exacerbated as it is, of course, by those Amanda Plummer-esque, energy-adopting tendencies of mine). And the best thing about it, for me, is the validation and encouragement it contains.
No, I don’t want to disappear completely. I like hanging out here occasionally, but I also have a lot of creative projects pulling at me right now, and if I’m going to build them all up (this blog included) to a level of excellence that I can be proud of, then I’m going to have to really focus and get that necessary background work done first.
And that will take time. And one only has so much time.
So, by definition, unless I compromise on content, I can only post here once in a while. Father Time simply won’t allow for anything else. And when I’m ready to post–when I’ve done enough work behind the scenes that I’m happy with the result — then, and only then, will I put it out there for everyone to see. And in the end, by making this decision, all I’m really doing is holding this blog up to the same standard that I hold my other creative work.
And that, of course, is how it should be. It’s just that it’s a little harder to do because of all that noise out there — online — yammering at me to get on with it, and to get posting. All that racket, constantly urging me to run at the break-neck speed of the herd.
But I can’t do it. Not now. And maybe not ever.
So, in the meantime, I will post whenever I post. But, I simply cannot predict when it will happen. I’m sure, like much of my life, it will take place in waves. A post here, a post there, or maybe a bunch in a row, followed by none for awhile.
One thing I do know, though, is that those Plummer-esque tendencies of mine will undoubtedly challenge me to maintain this ideal. I know that I will sometimes feel cowed by the cacophony of the internet, and feel the need to post something — anything — just to quiet my anxiety.
But, hopefully, I can resist that. And if I do succumb, hopefully the result isn’t, you know [cough, cough] too crappy. But whatever happens, you should know that my goal is still to stay strong amid the online howling and at least try, as CW puts it, to do more and show less.
So that I might, in the end, emerge from the bushes a better, less-frenzied, blogger.
Thanks for reading.